So yeah, Instagram influencers are the hottest thing to happen in marketing since pay-per-click campaigns.
Although everyone and their mom is doing influencer marketing right now, it can feel confusing when you’re just starting out.
How do I set up a campaign?
What should I budget for an influencer?
How the heck do I even find influencers I can trust?
People ask us all the time how they can find influencers more efficiently. The thing is, you can sift through Instagram and find plenty of garden-variety influencers.
However, these influencers haven’t been vetted. You don’t know if they’re the real deal or if they’re going to take your money and get zero results.
It’s scary, especially if you have a shoestring marketing budget.
Do you see big brands like Glossier taking a DIY approach to influencer marketing?
No. They don’t have time for that, and neither do you.
Most successful influencer marketing campaigns happen through an influencer network. This is a digital tool that helps you find the right influencers for your brand.
Instead of doing the DIY song-and-dance on Instagram and wasting hours of precious time, you can skip the hard labor and get straight to the good stuff with an influencer network or database.
Influencer networks and databases act like online directories that help you research influencers. However, some networks are more valuable than others.
Most networks are straight-up directories, where you pay a monthly subscription to access their database.
Other networks function more like platforms, giving you end-to-end support with running the campaign itself, including contracts, communication, payment, influencer research, and a lot more.
While influencer networks are a great way to sift through Instagram’s 500 million accounts in seconds, not all networks are built the same.
Before you dive headfirst into influencer marketing, know where your money is going. Understand what these databases do right, why you might want to avoid them, and what action you should take instead to see true ROI.
What Databases Do Right
Well, we’ve got to give credit where it’s due. In a best-case scenario, databases do two things right that can grow your brand.
1 - Find influencers quickly
Need to find folks quickly without the headache of the Instagram search bar? Influencer networks can connect you to dozens of influencers with a simple search.
You can refine your search based on influencer demographics or even the demographics of their audience, depending on the quality of the database. Filter by age, gender, or location to see which influencers could be a fit for your campaign.
To their credit, influencer databases are faster than manually DM’ing influencers yourself. This can save you time and hassle, provided the data is high-quality (but more on that in a sec).
2 - Compare influencers
DIY influencer research gets so convoluted that the spreadsheets will make your eyes cross after a while. It’s important to compare potential influencers against each other, but doing that in Google Sheets takes forever.
Some influencer databases allow you to compare influencers based on their demographics and other metrics, like their number of followers.
4 Reasons To Avoid Databases
To be honest, we had a hard time thinking up the benefits of these influencer databases. While they’re technically better for your campaign than doing it yourself, here are 4 reasons these databases aren’t a good move.
1 - Low-quality data
A lot of influencer networks are just databases. And databases love collecting more and more and more data.
These databases are harmful because:
They aren’t vetted.
They use scraped data.
Influencers don’t always know they’re in the database.
You’re paying a lot for limited data.
Anyone can join these databases, which means the information could be incomplete or downright wrong. Many databases accept this data without vetting it, passing it directly along to paying customers who are none the wiser.
Plus, these databases often rely on scraped data found across the internet. Databases crawl the internet looking for nuggets of information, which they add to their repository (usually without verification).
Sometimes influencers don’t even know they’re in a database. The crawlers simply add the influencer to the database without asking.
Plus, data scraping without verification is a recipe for junk data. You might reach influencers with defunct accounts or inconsistent, grubby data.
Oh, and databases charge a premium for this data, by the way. It’s a nightmare for your budget and campaign ROI.
2 - No personal connection
Influencer databases don’t build influencer relationships. These are just data farms: they don’t know their influencers at all.
And guess what? That means you could fork over $1,000 a month to an influencer who’s actually a middle-aged dude named Gordon, who’s scamming you.
Even if the influencers are legit, they have no connection to you or the platform. You might ask an influencer to participate in a campaign and they’ll straight-up ignore you—because they don’t know you, after all.
Translation: there’s a good chance you’ll connect with an untrustworthy or useless influencer and spend gobs of money on a software that doesn’t work.
This lack of personal connection can spell disaster for your brand. If you want to get results from influencer marketing, it’s best to go with a platform (like Trend) that has a real connection with the influencers in its system.
3 - Limited searches
The worst thing about influencer databases is that they contain a finite amount of information. After a few months, you’ll likely exhaust all of the quality information in that database.
Here’s the kicker: they’ll lock you into a long-term contract so you have to keep paying, regardless of how often you use this data.
Influencer databases aren’t updated regularly with quality information, which means you get less and less value from these networks over time.
4 - Zero customer support
Oh, did you have a question? Well, databases don’t care if you’re confused or need guidance on your influencer campaign.
Worst of all, if there’s a bug or error on the platform, you’d be hard-pressed to speak with a human about the issue.
With this lack of customer support, you aren’t going to get your money’s worth when things go sideways. You’ll have to figure stuff out yourself, which isn’t helpful when your livelihood is on the line.
Do This Instead
Your brand needs more than a database of names and email addresses. Keep in mind that some influencer networks are databases and some are end-to-end platforms.
You want the latter.
Instead of flushing your marketing budget down the drain with a less-than-effective database, go with a trusted platform like Trend.
We’re different than any other network on the market for one simple reason: our influencer relationships.
Yes, we actually know the people on our platform and speak with them regularly. There are no spammers or catfish here, boss.
Curation is the future of marketing, and that’s what our platform offers. Here’s what sets our curated platform apart from other influencer networks:
It’s invitation-only: No, we don’t let everybody in. Trend ensures quality by inviting trusted, vetted influencers onto the platform. We screen every profile to make sure they’re real, have a US-based following, and have a minimum number of followers. Oh, and we do this with real human beings, not bots.
Marketplace setup: Sign up for Trend, create your campaign, and start fielding requests from influencers immediately. Get access to relevant influencers without searching through a crummy database.
Licensing: Want user-generated content? Other platforms tell you, “Figure it out, dude.” Trend gives you the license on our platform to use UGC where you need it.
Don’t break a sweat if you don’t have to. Instead of doing all the hard work yourself, invest in a curated network like Trend, where all of the heavy lifting is done for you.
The Bottom Line
Get your piece of the pie and grow your business the right way with influencer marketing. Skip over the skeevy databases and trust an influencer marketing platform like Trend for a customized, streamlined experience.
Curious about the platform? No worries. Get a no-strings-attached demo now to see how Trend is different (and, dare we say, better) than other influencer networks on the market.